Princess of Peace, The Serene One, The Healing Hand, The White Lady
|Domain||Peace, Healing, Harmony, Love|
|Ethos||Heal they friend, heal thy foe, heal thy self.|
|Typical Worshipers||All good folk, but especially healers, herbalists, peace makers, etc.|
|Head of the Church||None.|
|Demographics||60% Human, 20% Grum, 10% Elven, 6% Dwarven, 4% Other|
|Geographic Regions||Worshiped throughout Ithria, except in the far west.|
|Allied Faiths||Imarus, Barrinor, Mireldokar, Glavyris, Assytia|
|Opposed Faiths||All of the Dark Lords.|
|Holy Symbol||A bitterberry.|
Sarreth is the goddess of peace, harmony and love. She is the balance between all forces in the Universe. She eases tensions and discord and is the epitome of grace and serenity. She is called the "healer of the gods" for healing is one of her special gifts.
Sarreth is depicted as a woman of unearthly beauty. She has white skin, white hair and white eyes with no pupils. She is always depicted in radiant white robes and almost seems to glow, which has led to her being called "the White Lady". She carries a slender staff made from the wood of the bitterberry tree. Around her neck is a sash necklace woven from all the healing herbs of the world. Sarreth is soft spoken, but has an aura of perfect calm and serenity about it.
No violence can be done in her presence. At her approach, battles will fall silent. Weapons will become heavy and impossible to lift. Unbridled rage will turn to deep tranquility. Whole armies will find they can do nothing but stand in utter serenity and bask in her radiance.
Myths and Legends
Like the other Elder Gods, Sarreth is an ancient diety whose faith stretches back to the First Age. There are numerous legends and tales about Sarreth, some of which conflict. The most common tale, told by the Sisters of Sarreth, is that Sarreth was born to a wealthy family in the Kingdom of Anhara in the year 751 CY. She was gifted with a natural ability to heal. Not long after her birth, the Four Kingdoms War began and war raged across the land. During this time, as Sarreth grew older, she studied under the priests of an ancient healing god. Her ability to heal increased greatly as she grew older and soon she was routinely performing miracles for her religion. All praised the ancient deity, whose name is now lost to antiquity. But Sarreth new it was she that was performing these feats.
As the Four Kingdoms War escalated, the need for healing was greatest. Jealousy from the other healing priests forced her to leave the temple in 725 BT. She ventured out in the war torn lands to an area that had recently seen a major battle. There she established her small home. From this humble place, she made healing potions and would care for injured soldiers. Her remarkable healing ability soon brought others who wished to learn her gift. She took in women and taught them to heal, but she turned men away as she claimed they were only interested in war. Her fame grew as did her followers. Within a year, her "sisters" (as she called them) had expanded her home into a large stone keep for protection from the war that raged around them. Her keep became known far and wide as a place of healing. Their work continued for there was much bloodshed and much healing to be done. As her sisterhood grew, so did the keep and her legend. Soon, her group began to evoke a spiritual side, with traditions and rituals, and Sarreth herself was the subject of tall tales and exagerrated stories. Sarreth preached to her sisters that all bloodshed was wrong and that all wounds must be healed. She made her followers take a vow - to heal any wound, no matter the victim or circumstance. For years, the Hall of Sarreth grew and healed any and all who came. A village had grown about the hall and many came from near and far to see this healer, to be touched by her and have their pain taken away and their spirits lifted. Many chose to stay and serve, pledging themselves to Sarreth, as thanks for the life of a loved one. The Sisters of Sarreth had grown in their abilities as well. Quite often, the sisters of Sarreth would venture out into the war, striding out on to battlefields and heal soldiers on both sides.
By 710 BT, the Kingdom of Anhara had fallen and a new power had arisen, declaring itself the Myratz Empire. The war was over. This same year, her sisters and her followers declared Sarreth a divine being, a demi-god, favored by the Universe with spiritual power. Shocked by the stories about her and this sudden deification, various priests and spiritual leaders of the Myratz Empire declared Sarreth a sorcerer-witch and arrested her. The priests were jealous of her power and declared her church to be a vile cult... unholy, unclean and corrupt. Sarreth was imprisoned along with many of her most ardent followers in a nearby town. Many of the sisters argued with the imperial officials, but to no avail. The day of her execution arrived. On the ninth day of Forestblush in 708 BT, Sarreth, who had healed so many, was marched to the executioner's block in a public courtyard before a huge crowd of onlookers. Her last act was to cure a scar on the shoulder of her masked executioner. She was then tied down and beheaded. Her body was burned in the courtyard on a small pyre. Her sisters and followers held each other and wept into the night, in what would become known as the Night of Wailing.
The next day her sisters, followers and the townsfolk were astonished to see that a tree had appeared in the courtyard where her body had been burned. It had small green leaves and several small bright red berries. Sarreth herself then appeared, an angelic figure, radiant and ethereal, standing on the executioner's block, looking out over the crowd. She spoke to all present and stated that this tree was her gift to the world. She then vanished, like smoke on the wind. The sisters declared that Sarreth had transcended to godhood. The imperial officials ordered the tree be burned, but her sisters took the berries and escaped before they could be stopped.
The sisters of Sarreth fled for fear of being imprisoned. Many were hunted and hounded by authorities. In the end, the sisters of Sarreth were scattered. The stone hall that Sarreth had founded was razed by imperial soldiers. However, the faith lived on. Her appearance had bolstered the sisters who were determined that her legacy should outlive the empire that had condemned her to death. They continued the faith, working in secrecy, banding together in small hidden covens, and evading authorities. The berries from the tree were found to have healing properties. The seeds were carefully protected and nurtured. Seeds were planted and in this way the bitterberry tree came into the world and flourished.
Eventually the Myratz Empire did collapse (and the sisters claim that Sarreth was behind the empire's fall). Sarreth guided her sisters with visions and dreams and frequent visits in spiritual form. She taught her followers all of her healing knowledge and bade them to undo all the wickedness in the all the lands. War, it is said, is an abomination in her eyes. Even now, the Sisters say, she is around us, watching and guiding, healing our hurts and wiping away our tears.
This is the story that the Sisters of Sarreth have inscribed in their books and teach to the young. This is the tale they will patiently recount to any and all who will listen.
Overview of the Church
Sarreth is one of the Elder Gods of Ithria. Her church is a loosely organized faith, divided up into many small "covens" that operate separate from each. Each coven is an independent sisterhood, ruled over by an elder priestess who is something of a maternal figure. These covens operate independently, but often cooperate with each other, exchanging resources, information and rendering aid to each other. The church of Sarreth works to undo the wicked in the world through healing and the promotion of peace and harmony between all people.
The church of Sarreth is perhaps the most widely dispersed across most of Ithria. Sarrethian temples can be found in almost all civilized nations of Ithria. Notable exceptions include: Avar, Duthelm, the Coalition, Kalimura, Karth, Myria, Ethara, Borrell and the two underground dwarven kingdoms, Ulkran and Urmordia.
History and Origins
Religous scholars can corroborate some of the tale of Sarreth. It is true that there was a healing cult that flourished at the end of the Four Kingdoms War and was subsequently driven underground by the Myratz Empire. Records from that time period are scarce and somewhat contradictory. What is known for certain is that the covens of "Sisters" did exist, and were actively promoting this faith, from the earliest days of the Thullian Empire (from which historical records are more complete).
The Sisters of Sarreth were a small but recognized faith in the Thullian Empire. They preached their message of peace and harmony, love and healing. They continued to heal all who came to them. When the Sundering split the star and shook the world, there came many years of suffering and poverty and starvation. The Great War soon raged across the lands. This is believed to have strengthened the faith of Sarreth as, once again, the need for healing was great. Throughout the Age of Chaos and the Age of Sorrow, the faith of Sarreth has spread and strengthened. War and conflict only make it stronger as many turn to the Sisters of Sarreth for healing. By the end of the Age of Rebirth, the Sisters of Sarreth were geographically dispersed with covens in many major cities.
The Sisters of Sarreth serve the communities around them by functioning as a hospital. They will often go out to care for the sick and the dying. The serve as midwives and assist with childbirth. They take care of the dying and ease their transition into the after life. The console the grieving who have lost a loved one. They bring grievously injured or ill people back to their temple for more urgent healing and prolonged caretaking. In war time, they are often called upon by armies and leaders to lend their talents to aid the war. After a battle, the Sisters will descend upon the field to save as many as they can. During war and extended military campaigns, many Sisters will accompany the armies, setting up healing tents in the war camps and so forth.
The most oft quoted goal of the Sisters is to "undo the wickedness of the world". While this may seem a lofty, if vague, aspiration, one soon learns that they mean to heal every injury, cure every illness and end all war. Their goal is a world free from all conflict, violence and suffering.
Temples, Churches and Holy Sites
Each coven of sisters lives and works out of its own temple. There is typically one Sarrethian temple in each major city and large town. A Sarrethian temple is a large circular building built around a central courtyard. The main gatehouse contains an antechamber for greeting guests. The circular ring of the building contains many chambers where the sick and injured are taken to be healed. Toward the back of the ring are the private living chambers of the Sisters and the Elder Mother. The courtyard serves as an inner sanctum in which a statue of Sarreth is housed at the center of a reflecting pool. The courtyard also houses gardens filled with flowers, various herbs and several bitterberry trees.
Sarrethian temples are typically found just outside of its host city or town. The Sisters of Sarreth often maintain vegetable gardens, orchards and crops to supplement their stores.
Many people of all walks of life pray to Sarreth. Whenever a loved one falls sick or injured, the prayers to Sarreth are frequent and sincere. Healers, herbalists, caretakers and mothers are the typical faithful. Warriors and soldiers pray over an injured comrade. She also includes among her faithful any who strive to end war and bring about peace.
Many people go to the Sisters for healing or to have a loved one healed. Most donate whatever they can to the Sisters in exchange for their aid... a few coins, a bag of food or whatever. It is something of a tradition to work for healing too. Those who feel they owe a debt to the Sisters, but cannot pay, will often help with gardening, cooking or cleaning.
Allied and Opposed Faiths
The church of Sarreth is strongly allied with the churches of Imarus and on good terms with most of the other Elder God faiths. Kael is a notable exception as the two faiths are diametrically opposed in beliefs and goals. While there is no open hostility between them, priests of Kael will not go to the aid of a Sister of Sarreth. The Sisters, however, will heal a Kaelian priest.
Sarreth is strongly opposed to all the Dark Lords.
Heal every injury. Cure every illness. No person shall be turned away. This is Sarreth's highest law.
Harm no one. It is better to sacrifice one's pride and blood and life than to cause the least harm in another.
Seek a peaceful resolution to every conflict.
Protect the weak, the innnocent and the defenseless.
Promote peace and harmony throughout the world. Undo all wickedness from the world.
Spread the faith so that violence and illness can be purged from the world.
The Sisters of Sarreth maintain a collection of scrolls known as the Revelations of Sarreth which contains all of the fables, teachings, philosophies and lectures associated with the faith. These writings are "divinely inspired" and the Elder Mothers add to them from time to time. Covens will share these additions with each other, but changes are slow to make their way through the network of covens and changes are sometimes made to new revelations. As a result, no two covens have exactly the same set of Revelations. Each is unique.
The bitter berry tree is Sarreth's holy symbol and the bitterberry tree is strongly associated with this faith as well. To a lesser degree, any healing herb is holy to the Sisters.
The rituals surrounding life and death in this faith are remarkably similar. When a child is born, the Sisters bathe it, wrap it in white cotton and sing traditional Sarrethian religious songs to it. When someone in their care dies, the Sisters will stand a vigil over the body for a full day. During this time, the body is washed, carefully wrapped in a thin white cotton sheets and kept safe while the Sisters pray over it. In this faith, the bodies are burned, as Sarreth was. Many believe that if the body of a loved one is cared for by the Sisters in this manner and then "given to the fire", then the departing soul will go to the Elder Gods and dwell in eternal peace.
On the ninth day of Forestblush, the Sisters observe Bitter Eve, the anniversary of Sarreth's execution. On the next day, they observe Sarreth's resurrection with Sarreth's Feast. This involves hosting a small festival on the grounds just outside the temple. The faithful invite the locals to celebrate with flowers, food, drinking and games. No funeral pyres are lit on Sarreth's Feast. Babies born on Sarreth's Feast are considered especially blessed.
Every bitterberry and bitterberry tree is considered holy.
Overview of the Clergy
As the name implies, the Sisters of Sarreth accept only women into their ranks. They are expert healings using methods both magical and mundane. Bandages, splints, poultrices, tinctures and healing herbs are the common tools used every day. They also brew a broad variety of healing potions. The Sisters of Sarreth are unmatched in the healing arts. The Sisters also have potent spell abilities as well, including magical healing, easing pain, erect protective shields, purifying water, finding lost objects, sensing danger and so forth.
The Sisters normally heal and charge nothing, although it is tradition to give an offering to the church. Most people will give whatever they can. Most are happy to part with a basket of food or a few coins in exchange to heal a sick child. On occasion, for those who are obviously wealthy and are asking a great boon, the Sisters may ask for more significant payment. Donations are used to support the Sisters, maintain the temple and also build new temples when the time comes.
The Sisters of Sarreth are absolute pacifists. They will never harm a living creature under any circumstances. They are able to conjure protective spells, shields to protect themselves and those they are serving. But none of their spells are offensive in nature. Likewise, a Sister of Sarreth will never pick up and use a weapon. The very idea of violence is abhorrant to them. Because of their pacifism and their healing, the Sisters are welcome in most civilized lands and greatly loved by many. Their pacifist nature sometimes makes them easy prey for barbaric types. There are, however, countless tales of common peasants rising up in defense of a Sister when she is threatened. The militants of Imarus and the knights of Barrinor will always charge forth and come to the rescue of a Sister of Sarreth.
Sarreth is also the goddess of love and this includes romantic love and, in many civilized lands, it is the custom for a Sister of Sarreth to conduct the wedding ceremony.
Sarreth is, to a lesser extent, also the goddess of life and death. Healing is the restoration of health and promotion of life. However, life is not eternal. When injuries are grave or illness severe, sometimes healing fails. When someone dies, it is Sarreth that cares for the departed and accompanies their soul to the next life. It is Sarreth who comforts the grieving and listens to their prayers. She is, above all else, the goddess of peace. This includes the peace that comes with acceptance of loss, the peace that comes to the soul after death and even the peace that descends upon the battlefield when the killing is over.
Divisions and Rank Structure
Each temple is home to a single coven. One coven of Sisters is typically between 20 and 40 sisters. They are led by a higher ranking member called the Elder Mother. She rules the coven. On occasion, a coven will become so large that it will split into two. The newly formed coven will venture out to build a new temple somewhere in the world.
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.